Kamala Harris, welcome to 2020 politics—and the need to refute a conspiracy theory in just your second public interview since joining Joe Biden's campaign. "They're going to engage in an attempt to distract from the real issues that are impacting the American people," Harris said of the Trump administration in a Grio interview released Sunday. "And I expect that they will engage in dirty tactics. And this is going to be a knockdown, drag-out. And we're ready." This after President Trump last week mentioned a Newsweek op-ed that cast doubt on her eligibility to be vice president or president because her parents were not "naturalized" citizens when she was born in Oakland, Calif., in 1964. Trump called the author, a Chapman University professor, "very highly qualified."
But the AP, which dug up her birth certificate, reports that she is Constitutionally eligible because she was born American, is at least 35, and has lived in the US for at least 14 years. The Hill reports that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was asked on CNN's State of the Union whether Harris was eligible: "Sure," he told host Jake Tapper. "This is not something that we're going to pursue. Actually, Jake, you and a number in the media, you all have spent more time on it than anybody in the White House has talking about this." To be fair, Trump didn't endorse the theory, but floated it in a "just-asking-questions" style he's also used to promote Obama birtherism, per CNN. The Grio quotes Harris as calling it "lies" and "deception." (Meanwhile, Newsweek's editors have sort of backtracked.)